Mountain residents are asked to minimize trips into and out of damaged areas, and visitors and plains residents are requested to curtail recreation in the mountains between certain areas.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Barb Halpin, Boulder County Commissioners’ Office, 720-564-2935 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. M-F)
Mountain residents are asked to minimize trips into and out of damaged areas, and visitors and plains residents are requested to curtail recreation in the mountain area between U.S. 36 and SH 72 this fall (travel is allowed along P2P Highway north to south)
Visitors can access the Town of Estes Park in Larimer County along Peak to Peak Highway (SH 72) – we’re just asking that visitors not try to venture east or west of P2P in Boulder County along roads that are closed to public access
Boulder County, Colo. – Boulder County officials have made it an immediate priority to repair and reconstruct county roads and bridges damaged in the flood. The county sustained an enormous amount of damage to its roadway infrastructure, and in some places, experienced complete destruction of critical routes in the foothills and mountains. Initial estimates for repairs top $100 million.
Boulder County road maintenance crews have been working on clearing, evaluating structural integrity and public safety, and repairing county roads since the beginning of the historic flooding event. Utility companies have also been active since the start working to restore electric, gas, phone, water and other basic services. Given the current status of the roads, county public safety and transportation officials are urging residents to minimize – and visitors to curtail completely – their use of mountain roads within Boulder County.
(Video: Boulder County “Be a Good Neighbor” Public Safety & Road Infrastructure message)
“We kindly ask that people stay out of the foothills and mountain areas from Foothills Highway to Peak to Peak this fall for recreational purposes while our county, state and federal partners work to restore access to all of our valued mountain communities,” said Boulder County Commissioner Cindy Domenico. “Right now we need our residents and visitors to access our central mountain communities only for essential purposes and to give room to our road crews and law enforcement officials to do their jobs.”
“We want residents and visitors to recognize that Boulder County is hard at work to reestablish our infrastructure and reconnect residents to their communities and their homes,” said Boulder County Transportation Director George Gerstle. “The county has teamed with cities and towns, the state, other nearby counties and private contractors to help with this massive undertaking. Crews are working as quickly as we can to put in place at least temporary fixes by winter, knowing that cold weather and snow will only compound problems with damaged roads.”
The Sheriff’s Office is requesting that all recreation and unnecessary trips into the foothills and mountains of Boulder County be curtailed until critical roads, including Boulder Canyon and U.S. 36 west of Lyons, can be opened to the general public. (View video)
“The road issues are more than a mere inconvenience,” said Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle. “Everyone working at the county understands that the lack of access and the lengthy process to restore it will change lives, and we are focused on returning a sense of normalcy to lives that have been changed forever in some cases.”
County officials have asked that vehicles, bikes and pedestrians stay out of the damaged areas while road and emergency crews, utilities and local residents work to restore basic infrastructure and access to their homes.
“People who want to recreate in the mountains or go see the destruction will actually hamper access for emergency responders, utility workers, and mountain residents who absolutely need the access,” Pelle said. “For that reason we’re asking people who don’t have to go to the mountains to stay away and to understand that this is a very long term problem.”
“It is incredibly difficult to rebuild roads with people on them, so please avoid the mountain roads unless absolutely necessary, and minimize even residential trips to keep roads clear for heavy equipment and emergency vehicles,” Gerstle added. “It is difficult and takes much longer for the crews to fix a road with traffic on it. The fewer people using the road, the faster we can get the work done.”
Another important recovery aspect for many residents is the status of county open space parks and trails.
“Our staff has been assessing damage and working to repair trails as quickly as possible, but there are many parks and trails that may be closed for a significant duration as these areas have experienced extreme damage and the trails are unsafe,” said Boulder County Parks & Open Space Director Ron Stewart.
In addition, the U.S. Forest Service in Boulder County has closed its lands for all recreational purposes (i.e., camping, hiking, hunting, etc.) by executive order until further notice.